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Category Archives: Leadership and Employees

The Perfect Brainstorm

By | Business, Business By The Book, Business Improvements, Leadership, Leadership | No Comments
Startup Stock Photos

  Poet Robert Frost once described the brain as something that “starts working the moment you get up in the morning and does not stop until you get into the office.” Okay, so you can jump start it again with a stiff cup of Folgers. The point is, much of what passes for work in the workplace requires—admit it—very little of your cerebral cortex. The mundane tasks that constitute the average workday are often far from intellectually stimulating—but that’s probably a good thing. A certain amount of routine helps us balance the stressful elements of operating a business. Too much…

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How Employees Really Act When the Owner Isn’t There

By | Business By The Book, Compensation Management, HR Management, Human Resources, Leadership | No Comments

As a follow up to my The Key to Motivating Employees post, I wanted to share an incident I experienced a couple of years ago that highlights the necessity of creating the proper incentives and culture to encourage employees to think more like owners. My family and I pulled up to a specialty cabinet store about twenty minutes before closing – sufficient time to run in and make a large purchase of around $1,000 for our farmhouse renovation project. Unbeknownst to the employees, we already had been all over their website and we knew exactly what we wanted. As I…

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Compensation Plan for a Startup Sales Executive

By | Business By The Book, Compensation Management, HR Management, Human Resources, Sales, Sales & Marketing | No Comments

Q: I am the founder and CEO of an early-stage high-tech startup and I am in the beginning stages of trying to raise $2.5 million in an initial round of venture capital to ramp up operations. I am trying to attract a high-level sales/business development executive to sell for the company on a part-time basis. He has asked for $100 per hour for his base pay, plus 10% commission on anything he sales, plus 5% ownership of the company with an anti-dilution guarantee that his ownership will never fall below 5% no matter what happens to the company in terms of…

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Move, Shoot, and Communicate

By | Business By The Book, Leadership, Leadership and Employees, Running a Business | No Comments
2LT Myers

“Move, Shoot, and Communicate” was a standard phrase I learned as a young officer in the U.S. Army regarding the three essential capabilities to develop, build, and perfect in order to be successful in battle. And the faster a troop leader can perform and lead the soldiers, the more effective he was at gaining ground. I remember a cartoon I saw as a lieutenant that stuck with me: it featured an armored personnel carrier tearing down a tank trail at a high rate of speed with a caption that read “speed is my camouflage”. That resonated with me. While some…

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The Necessity of Morality in Business

By | Business By The Book, Leadership, Leadership, Running a Business | No Comments
Morality in Business

Q: How do you explain the issues with capitalism when it comes to the potential for companies to do anything for a dollar out of greed? A: We’ve seen plenty of examples of companies selling harmful products or swindling public investors or mistreating employees. It really boils down to the fact that capitalism only works under the guiding hand of morality. And the truths of moral law can only come from a higher authority. Our Biblical values as Christians act as a counterbalance to potentially greedy decisions that might have a negative impact on customers or investors. I remember sitting…

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Failure is a Necessary Part of Success – A Lesson from the Army Rangers

By | Business By The Book, Leadership, Leadership and Employees, Running a Business, Starting Up | No Comments

During U.S. Army Ranger training, we were trained in hand-to-hand combat, including how to fight with knives and how to defeat an opponent with a knife (or unfixed bayonet). We “fought” with rubber knives which helped us gain expertise without a lot of physical damage to each other, although a good stab carried a sufficient a level of pain to motivate one to fight hard and skillfully in order to avoid another one. I will never forget the instructor’s advice when he told us to expect to get cut and shed some blood when we were in a knife fight….

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Running a Startup is Like Fighting in a War

By | Business By The Book, Leadership, Leadership, Ownership & Purpose, Running a Business, Starting Up | No Comments

Launching and running a startup is a lot like fighting in a war: You have imperfect information and inadequate resources You operate in the middle of mass confusion and chaos You will definitely take casualties and the life expectancy of the Lieutenants (your management team) is short, but if too many Lieutenants get killed, sooner or later, the Company Commander (you, the founder/CEO) gets replaced You have an all-volunteer force that buys into what they are doing because they believe in the cause, they like the excitement, and they willingly take on the known risks You forge fast and deep…

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He Was About To Fail, But Didn’t Realize It

By | Business By The Book, Cash Flow Management, Compensation Management, HR Management, Leadership, Leadership and Employees, Ownership & Purpose | No Comments

“The fence guys are here!” I exclaimed to my wife incredulously one March morning. They had shown up two days in a row and the surprise was clearly in my voice. The “fence guys” had been a frequent topic of conversation on our hobby farm over the previous several months. The “fence guys” were the fencing contractors that were building the white plank fence around our horse pasture and our farmstead. Believe it or not, this had all started nine months earlier when I selected this contractor over two others after receiving their proposals. The owner of the company was…

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